At a time when a kid just wants to fit in, the burden of scoliosis treatment can be truly unbearable. Meredith was in 3rd grade when her doctors told her she had scoliosis. “At that point, bracing wasn’t needed, so it didn’t really matter to me,” she tells us.
Fast forward to 5th grade. Meredith’s curve had progressed to the point where she needed bracing. “This was a big shock to me. I realized something had to be done; that this would have an impact on my life.”
Meredith’s first scoliosis brace was made the traditional way. It was constricting, uncomfortable and hot. Perhaps the worst part was the brace was so out of the norm. “It was obvious that I was wearing it and that made me self-conscious.”
An Exciting Discovery
No parent wants their child to bear a burden. Parents of children with scoliosis are remarkably motivated to seek out alternative options for treating the condition.
“I knew there had to be a better way out there,” says Meredith’s father. About a year into his daughter’s bracing treatment, he was at a conference where our partner, 3D Systems was speaking about 3D printing innovations. One of the examples in the presentation… a prototype for a 3D printed scoliosis brace.
The most widely recognized treatment for scoliosis is bracing. The goal is to prevent the spinal curve from progressing while the person grows. However to be effective, the brace must be worn at least 13 hours a day, based on a clinical study completed in 2013.
“When I saw the new brace I was so excited. For the first time, I felt like I could do something to make Meredith’s treatment easier on her and thus more likely to succeed. We knew the more she wore her brace, the better her chances to correct the curve and avoid surgery.”
A UNYQ Experience
Meredith became one of 30 adolescents to pilot the new brace under the supervision of her orthotist and orthopedist. Her reaction to it was remarkable!
“Instead of feeling strange and different, I felt unique. I felt so much more comfortable and my friends thought it was cool.”
Meredith went on to wear the UNYQ Scoliosis Brace for two more years until her bracing treatment came to its end recently. She’s currently feeling great and doing all of her favorite sports, including swimming and playing volleyball for her high school team. She awaits her final prognosis and her spirits are high.
At the end of the day, scoliosis remains incredibly elusive. We often don’t know why it happens to certain people and it’s nearly impossible to know how a given person will respond to bracing. However, we do know that bracing will be beneficial for many of those who are diagnosed with the condition.
Further, the greater the compliance with the bracing program, the more effective bracing will be. It stands then that if you have to wear a restricting brace for years, you might as well find some redeeming qualities in your brace.
At UNYQ, we are taking on the challenge to give more people like Meredith the chance to straighten their curve in style, avoiding the most frustrating aspects of scoliosis treatment and spend more time being their UNYQ selves.